Two teenage girls committed perjury by failing to identify the defendant. When prosecuted they pleaded duress, on the basis that they had been warned by a group, including a man with a reputation for violence, that if they identified the defendant in court the group would get the girls and cut them up. They resolved to tell lies, and were strengthened in their resolve when they arrived at court and saw the author of the threat in the public gallery. The trial judge ruled that the threats were not sufficiently present and immediate to support the defence of duress.
Held: The Court is willing to entertain the possibility of a defence of duress even in an extreme case if it is arguable that ‘the will of the accused has been overborne by threats of death or serious personal injury so that the commission of the alleged defence was no longer [his] voluntary act’ Although the threats could not be executed in the courtroom they could be carried out in the streets of Salford that same night.
Lord Parker CJ, Widgery LJ, Cooke J
 2 QB 202,  EWCA Crim 2,  2 All ER 244,  2 WLR 1047, (1971) 56 Cr App Rep 1, (1971) 135 JP 403
England and Wales
Cited – Subramaniam v Director of Public Prosecutions PC 1956
(Malaysia) The defendant sought to advance a defence of duress under a section of the Penal Code of the Federated Malay States which provided that, with certain exceptions, ‘nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is compelled to do it . .
Cited – The Coca-Cola Company and Another v Cengiz Aytacli and others ChD 30-Jan-2003
The claimant having succeeded in an action against the defendants, now sought an order for their committal for contempt, accusing them of having given false evidence, and of having failed to comply with court orders made. The defendant asserted a . .
Cited – In Re A (Minors) (Conjoined Twins: Medical Treatment); aka In re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) CA 22-Sep-2000
Twins were conjoined (Siamese). Medically, both could not survive, and one was dependent upon the vital organs of the other. Doctors applied for permission to separate the twins which would be followed by the inevitable death of one of them. The . .
Cited – Hasan, Regina v HL 17-Mar-2005
The House was asked two questions: the meaning of ‘confession’ for the purposes of section 76(1) of the 1984 Act, and as to the defence of duress. The defendant had been involved in burglary, being told his family would be harmed if he refused. The . .
Cited – Quayle and others v Regina, Attorney General’s Reference (No. 2 of 2004) CACD 27-May-2005
Each defendant appealed against convictions associated variously with the cultivation or possession of cannabis resin. They sought to plead medical necessity. There had been medical recommendations to move cannabis to the list of drugs which might . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 August 2022; Ref: scu.181187